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May 23, 2019

Stanley Cup Final Cheat Sheet

Stanley Cup - Top Props | Stanley Cup - Top Wager | Stanley Cup Final Odds

After the four division champions were knocked out in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there were plenty of potential non-intriguing matchups for the final round. Ultimately, the NHL will showcase the Bruins and Blues for Lord Stanley’s Cup, as the two teams are meeting in this round for the first time since 1970.

The Bruins finished tied with the Flames for the second-most points in the NHL (107), but Boston still sat 21 points out first place in the Atlantic division. Yes, Tampa Bay ran away with the Atlantic by posting 128 points, but the Lighting were bounced by the Blue Jackets in one of the most stunning playoff upsets ever. Boston closed the regular season with a +44 goal differential, which ranked third in the NHL behind Tampa Bay and Calgary.

Boston needed to stave off Toronto in seven games of the first round, while trailing Columbus, 2-1 after three games in the second round. The Bruins are currently riding a seven-game winning streak after capturing the final three contests against the Blue Jackets, while pulling off a four-game sweep of the Hurricanes to advance to their first Stanley Cup Final since 2013.

In the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston outscored Carolina, 17-5, which includes 11 goals scored in two blowouts a TD Garden. Three different Bruins have scored at least seven goals in the playoffs, led by center Patrice Bergeron’s eight tallies, followed by wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. Three Bruins have produced at least 10 assists (Marchand, David Krejci, and Torey Krug), while goaltender Tuukka Rask has played in net for all 17 playoff games, while owning a spectacular 1.84 goals against average.

Out west, the Blues entered January by owning a 15-18-4 mark for 34 points, which was tied with the Senators for the least amount of points in the league. St. Louis’ 34 points was one worse than Los Angeles for the basement of the Western Conference. The Blues turned it on the final three months for one of the most furious comebacks ever by compiling a 30-10-5 record to accumulate 65 points, which was the highest point total in that span, edging the league-best Lightning, who racked up 64.

To take it one step further, the Blues sat 18 points behind the Jets for the top spot in the Central division on New Year’s night. St. Louis made up 18 points on Winnipeg over the final 45 games to actually tie the Jets for second place in the Central division with 99 points. The Blues grounded the Jets in the first round in six games, as St. Louis won three times at Winnipeg. St. Louis went back and forth with division rival Dallas in the second round until knocking out the Stars in seven games, capped off by a double-overtime triumph in the series finale.

The Blues fell behind the Sharks, 2-1 in the Western Conference Finals following a controversial no-call on a hand pass in a Game 3 home overtime loss. St. Louis rebounded for three consecutive wins, while allowing a total of two goals in those victories. The Capitals hoisted the Cup last season as they closed all four series with road wins, but the Blues have gone the opposite way by winning each of their three series at Enterprise Center.

The home team won each of the two regular season matchups, as the Bruins dominated the Blues at TD Garden on January 17 as a -160 favorite, 5-2. Boston and St. Louis each scored a pair of second period goals following a scoreless first frame, but the Bruins took the lead in the third period by scoring three times. The OVER of 5 ½ cashed as the Bruins scored their three third period goals on only six shots.

The Blues picked up revenge in the next matchup five weeks later in St. Louis with a 2-1 shootout victory as a -125 favorite. St. Louis snapped Boston’s seven-game winning streak as goalie Jordan Binnington stopped 31 of 32 shots, while the former third round pick put together an incredible 24-5-1 regular season record and 1.89 GAA since taking over for Jake Allen in early January.

Boston has reached the Stanley Cup Final for the third time this decade, as the Bruins are seeking their first title since edging the Canucks in seven games in 2011. Their last appearance in the Cup Final came in 2013 against the Blackhawks, as Chicago won in six games although each contest was decided by two goals or less.

The Blues actually made the Stanley Cup Final in each of their first three years in existence after entering the league in 1967. St. Louis won the Western Conference in 1967-68, 1968-69, and 1969-70, but failed to win the title each time. In fact, the Blues were swept in all three series to the Canadiens in ’68 and ’69, while the Bruins finished off the Blues in four games of 1970, as Boston won the finale of that series in overtime thanks to the famous Bobby Orr flying through the air game-winning goal.

VegasInsider.com NHL expert Ben Burns checks in with his thoughts on this series, “The Bruins made it look easy against Carolina. While I expect them to hoist the Cup, I also expect that they'll face a tougher challenge here. The Blues have been on a roll for months and come in full of confidence. Still, they arguably haven't faced a team as strong or battle-tested as Boston. The Bruins showed a lot in beating a talented Toronto team. The home team won both regular season meetings. Expect home ice to be significant in the series, the Bruins ultimately winning in Game 7.”

Veteran NHL handicapper Stephen Nover feels this series which reach the limit as well, "It has been an insane Stanley Cup. The Lightning get swept in the first round and the defending champion Capitals also go out in the first round. Now it's the Blues-Bruins. There is a certain randomoness to this series, too, because of all the extra time before this championship series starts. The Blues have proven tough on the road. Both teams are getting outstanding goaltending. So I see the series going seven games. But the Bruins just have a little too much especially with their great No. 1 line to win in seven."

The Bruins are listed as a -155 favorite to capture the Cup, while the Blues sit at +135 to win their first ever title.

Game 1 – St. Louis at Boston – Monday, May 27
Game 2 – St. Louis at Boston – Wednesday, May 29
Game 3 – Boston at St. Louis – Saturday, June 1
Game 4 – Boston at St. Louis – Monday, June 3
Game 5 – St. Louis at Boston – Thursday, June 6
Game 6 – Boston at St. Louis – Sunday, June 9
Game 7 – St. Louis at Boston – Wednesday, June 12

All games starting at 8:05 PM EST and will air on NBC.
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You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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